FAO / STATE FOOD AGRICULTURE REPORT

27-Nov-2020 00:03:01
Improved water management, supported by effective governance and strong institutions - including secure water tenure and rights, underpinned by sound water accounting and auditing - will be essential to ensure global food security and nutrition, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2020. FAO
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STORY: FAO / STATE FOOD AGRICULTURE REPORT
TRT: 03:01
SOURCE: FAO
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT FAO ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 26 NOVEMBER 2020, ROME, ITALY
SHOTLIST
1. Multiple screens, moderator Yasmina Bouziane, FAO Deputy Director Officof Communications, introducing FAO Director-General QU Dongyu
2. SOUNDBITE (English) QU Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“SOFA sends us a strong message, water shortage and scarcity in agriculture must be addressed immediately and boldly. Agriculture is essential to the water related challenges we face to achieve the SDGs.”
3. Multiple screens, QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, speaking
4. SOUNDBITE (English) QU Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“Using water more efficiently must be done while preserving water related ecosystems, that is to sustain livelihoods and ensure equitable access to water for all.”
5. Multiple screens, moderator Yasmina Bouziane speaking
6. Multiple screens, Máximo Torero Cullen, FAO Chief Economist, presenting SOFA report
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Máximo Torero Cullen, Chief Economist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“3.2 billion people live in agricultural areas with high, to very high levels of water shortages or water scarcity. Out of which 1.2 billion live in agricultural areas with very high levels of water shortages or water scarcity. These are the most severely affected areas. It means that 1 in 6 people on the planet is affected by severe water shortages and scarcity in agriculture.”
8. Multiple screens, moderator Yasmina Bouziane speaking
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mohamed Ait Kadi, President, General Council of Agriculture, Kingdom of Morocco:
“Despite tangible progress, many water issues remain unsolved. The SOFA calls for major shifts in conceptual approaches to water governance in order to reach a more desirable future.”
10. Multiple screens, moderator Yasmina Bouziane speaking
11. SOUNDBITE (English) David Zilberman, Professor, University of California, Berkeley:
“Key element to better management is multidisciplinarity to combine many fields and many approaches to develop a science-based solution taking into account economics, policy and sociology and incorporate institutional traditions because water is a key element for life.”
12. Multiple screens, moderator Yasmina Bouziane speaking
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“We have to be solution driven. The challenges we have been counting them for years, but is it about time, really, to push for solutions. And the solutions, as doctor Ait Kadi said, as doctor Zilberman said, it’s really about managing waters. This is one of the resources that we can’t do agriculture without it and we need to manage it better to sustain our life and our livelihoods as well.”
14. Multiple screens, moderator Yasmina Bouziane speaking
STORYLINE
Improved water management, supported by effective governance and strong institutions - including secure water tenure and rights, underpinned by sound water accounting and auditing - will be essential to ensure global food security and nutrition, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2020.

SOUNDBITE (English) QU Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“SOFA sends us a strong message, water shortage and scarcity in agriculture must be addressed immediately and boldly. Agriculture is essential to the water related challenges we face to achieve the SDGs.”

According to the flagship report published Thursday (26 Nov) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than three billion people live in agricultural areas with high to very high levels of water shortages and scarcity, and almost half of them face severe constraints. Furthermore, available freshwater resources per person have declined by more than 20 percent over the past two decades globally, underscoring the importance of producing more with less, especially in the agriculture sector, the world's largest user of water.

SOUNDBITE (English) QU Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“Using water more efficiently must be done while preserving water related ecosystems, that is to sustain livelihoods and ensure equitable access to water for all.”

Achieving the internationally agreed SDG pledges, including the Zero Hunger target (SDG 2), is still achievable, the SOFA emphasizes - but only by ensuring more productive and sustainable use of freshwater and rainwater in agriculture, which accounts for more than 70 percent of global water withdrawals.

SOUNDBITE (English) Máximo Torero Cullen, Chief Economist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“3.2 billion people live in agricultural areas with high, to very high levels of water shortages or water scarcity. Out of which 1.2 billion live in agricultural areas with very high levels of water shortages or water scarcity. These are the most severely affected areas. It means that 1 in 6 people on the planet is affected by severe water shortages and scarcity in agriculture.”

FAO's SOFA report in 1993 also focused on water issues, and today it is striking how the findings presented then remain valid and relevant today. While the previous report focused on irrigation, the new edition broadens its scope to cover water-related challenges in rainfed agriculture, which represents more than 80 percent of land under cultivation and 60 percent of global crop production.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mohamed Ait Kadi, President, General Council of Agriculture, Kingdom of Morocco:
“Despite tangible progress, many water issues remain unsolved. The SOFA calls for major shifts in conceptual approaches to water governance in order to reach a more desirable future.”

FAO is the custodian of SDG Indicator 6.4.2, which measures the pressure of human activities on natural freshwater resources, and SOFA offers the first spatially disaggregated representation of how things stand today - which, when meshed with historical drought frequency data, allows for a more holistic assessment of water constraints in food production.

SOUNDBITE (English) David Zilberman, Professor, University of California, Berkeley:
“Key element to better management is multidisciplinarity to combine many fields and many approaches to develop a science-based solution taking into account economics, policy and sociology and incorporate institutional traditions because water is a key element for life.”

About 1.2 billion people - 44 percent of them in rural areas and the remainder in small urban centers in the countryside - live in places where severe water shortages and scarcity challenge agriculture. Around 40 percent of them live in Eastern and South-eastern Asia, and a slightly higher share in Southern Asia. Central Asia and Northern Africa and Western Asia are also severely affected - about one of every five people live in agricultural areas with very high-water shortages and scarcity, compared to less than 4 percent in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern America and Oceania.

SOUNDBITE (English) Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“We have to be solution driven. The challenges we have been counting them for years, but is it about time, really, to push for solutions. And the solutions, as doctor Ait Kadi said, as doctor Zilberman said, it’s really about managing waters. This is one of the resources that we can’t do agriculture without it and we need to manage it better to sustain our life and our livelihoods as well.”

About 5 percent of people living in sub-Saharan Africa live in similar conditions, meaning that about 50 million people live in areas where severe drought has catastrophic impacts on cropland and pastureland once every three years.

About 11 percent of the world's rainfed cropland, or 128 million hectares, face frequent drought, as does about 14 percent of pastureland, or 656 million hectares. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent (or 171 million hectares) of irrigated cropland is highly water stressed. 11 countries, all in Northern Africa and Asia, face both challenges, making it urgent and necessary to adopt sound water accounting, clear allocation, modern technologies and to shift to less thirsty crops.

The report notes that, in some cases, small-scale and farmer-led irrigation systems can be more efficient than large-scale projects. That's a promising path for sub-Saharan Africa, where surface and underground water resources are comparatively undeveloped and only 3 percent of cropland is equipped for irrigation - and where expanding small-scale irrigation can be profitable and benefit millions of rural people. However, many factors impede adoption, including lack of secure water tenure and access to finance and credit. In Asia, declining large-scale state-funded surface irrigation have led to farmers tapping directly into groundwater, placing excessive pressure on the resource. Addressing these issues will require investing in modernizing old irrigation schemes, as well as effective policies.

Full-fledged water markets involving the sale of water rights are relatively rare. However, when water accounting and auditing is well performed, water tenure and rights are well established, and the active participation of beneficiaries and managing institutions is promoted, regulated water markets can induce efficient and equitable allocation of water, while promoting its conservation.
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